In order to meet obligations under the Kyoto envirionment protocol, unique measurement methods are being developed to determine the carbon stores and emissions of the worlds forests. The methods are based on satellite images. The development work is being co-ordinated by VTT, whose project proposal won a high-level competition organized by the European space agency ESA. The results of the project will appear over a period of a year
In the work commissioned by ESA, two new methods, utilizing optical and radar satellite images, will be used to determine significant carbon reserves bound to forests. The carbon is stored in trees, vegetation cover, and the ground. VTT already has internationally very high-level expertise in the remote sensing of forests
The prototypes of the monitoring methods will be tested in practice. The probable test users will be national environmental authorities, the European Commission, the UN, and European forest-sector companies. Companies interest in detecting emissions is particularly related to their possibilities of selling the "surplus emissions rights" elsewhere to the extent that a company falls short of the carbon emissions limit set for it.
The carbon monitoring methods to be developed will be unique they will confirm measurements of carbon reserves and emissions. At present, carbon amounts are only based on the national statistics notified by each country under the Kyoto protocol. Future changes in carbon emissions will be compared with the statistics notified from 1990. In Finland, the statistics are the responsibility of the Ministry of the Environment.
Other participants in this project led by VTT are Stora Enso Forest Consulting Ltd., the European Forest Institute, and the Swiss company Gamma Remote Sensing GmbH. One of the best results of the project will be to bring Finland comprehensive satellite data on the earths natural resources.
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